Pistons GM Jeff Bower honored in sports Hall of Fame in Pennsylvania
PERRY A. FARRELL, THE DETROIT FREE PRESS
Detroit Pistons general manager Jeff Bower is a Hall of Famer.
He recently was inducted into the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame.
“Those three words aren’t normally attached to my name,” he said on a recent podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. “Actually, it was a terrific night.”
On April 23, Bower was part of the 17th class to be inducted at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, Pa.
He joined a class that featured Altoona Curve baseball owners Bob and Joan Lozinak, U.S. biathlon champion Doug Hoover, Bishop Guilfoyle and West Virginia football player Thom Geishauser, and former Altoona and University of Pittsburgh basketball player Jennifer (Shingler) Hansberry.
Bower was honored for rebuilding the New Orleans Hornets franchise. The Hollidaysburg, Pa., native drafted Chris Paul and spent seven seasons as the Hornets GM in two different stints. He was the Hornets coach in 2009-10 and was an assistant at Penn State (1983-86) and a head coach at Marist (2013-14).
He left Marist to join Stan Van Gundy in Detroit.
“That was a difficult decision,” he said. “I enjoyed it there.”
In 2005, Bower finished third in the executive of the year voting behind Danny Ainge and Mitch Kupchak. It was the year the Hornets won their first division title.
“It was an honor to take part in the event,” Bower said of the induction. “It’s something that was a long tradition back in Blair County in Pennsylvania. I was glad I was able to be a part of it.”
He admitted during the podcast that he didn’t have the traditional path to the NBA.
“I probably have the background or path of a history teacher,” he said. “Which is what I had always hoped to do. That’s why I went to school and wanted to be a history teacher and a basketball coach. Opportunities presented themselves, and I got to know people and got to have experiences that allowed me to take on a whole different path and direction. I’m very, very fortunate.”
Bower graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history and education from St. Francis University. He began his basketball career as a student assistant coach under Dave Magarity.